Keeping Your Breast Pump Clean

Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC

AUGUST 01, 2017


Breastfeeding moms, who are going back to work, often describe that apart from the adjustment of being apart from baby for hours at a stretch, one of the biggest challenges of going back to work is pumping breast milk.

First there’s the logistical juggling of figure out when to pump. For moms with a solo office that is built with actual walls and a door that you can’t see through, this is not such a challenge, but for the majority, this is not what the workplace environment looks like. Instead there is the “pumping room”, or “lactation room”….whatever you want to call it. It’s one space, shared by all the lactating women. Often the room is centrally located, so there is travel time involved especially if it happens to be far from where you are actually working, and then there is the figuring out of exactly how the space is allocated. Some places have an online scheduling system, other places it’s more of a first come, first served, and often it’s a challenge to figure out the mystery of the room reservation protocol.

The fact is that for all the talk of how working moms can continue to breastfeed (and of course you can) it would be nice I think, just to acknowledge that it’s not easy. Apart from the logistics of pumping, there’s also the stress of finding professional attire suitable for pumping that you actually fit into, as the truth is, most of us are not back into our pre-pregnancy work clothes when it’s time to go back to work. Also, working moms soon learn how incredibly important it is to effectively manage time. Most often they are forgoing lunch, and water cooler chats as they are highly motivated to complete tasks so as to be able to get out the door and high tail it to child care pick up as fast as humanly possible.

What I’m leading up to is the recent recommendations by the CDC regarding care/cleaning of breast pump parts. A useful tip that experienced working moms often share to those moms about to return is that as long as you refrigerate your pump parts, no need to clean between pumping. This tip has been so very helpful in terms of saving precious time. But hold the phone. I’m sorry to report that as good as it sounds….seems like this trick isn’t such a good idea. 

So working moms, there you have it. I feel my obligation to inform is complete and what you do with the information is up to you. As always, if you have additional questions/concerns, please discuss with your pediatrician.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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